Central Indiana wind-farm company seeking tax breaks

A company planning to build a wind farm spread across four central Indiana counties is asking officials in one of those counties for property tax breaks on a future phase of the project.

E-on Climate & Renewables says it expects work to begin in July on some 125 turbines in Madison and Tipton counties for the first phase of the Wildcat Wind Farm. Nearly 200 more electricity-generating turbines are planned in Howard and Grant counties in later phases.

The company says the Wildcat Wind Farm project's first phase will cost up to $400 million to build.

E-on said it expects to employ 200 and 300 workers during construction and about 12 permanent workers for maintenance work on the turbines.

Phase One is expected to generate about 200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 60,000 homes. The utility said the project will be connected to American Electric Power's transmission system, which will deliver the power to customers in Indiana and Michigan.

In May 2011, E-on reached a 20-year agreement with Fort Wayne-based utility Indiana Michigan Power to sell the utility power from the proposed farm.

Future phases of the project are planned in neighboring Howard and Grant counties in the area about 40 miles north of Indianapolis. A company spokesman said future expansion would hinge on federal tax credits.

The Kokomo Tribune reported the Chicago-based company has asked Howard County officials for a 10-year tax abatement.

E-on project manager Andy Melka says the tax abatement is necessary for the project to move forward. He says the company expects to spend at least $250 million in Howard County.

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